The Fake Jaguar Thread

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I decided that I first needed to clean up the cross frame, which girdles the floor pan below the seats, and attaches it to the seat frames, seatbelts, runningboards, and fender tips. I wanted to make sure that this got finished and painted before I reattached it to the car and Welded it on forever.

Here it is on my crappy old grinding bench, getting sanded, ground, and wire brushed here and there.

This frame had a lot of unnecessary holes in it (or rather holes that will be unnecessary.) There were also at least 14 miss-located or oversized holes.

Anyhow, today I started cleaning up this frame for paint, and I welded up about 30 holes. I have to weld from both sides to do a good job.

First I clamp an aluminum chiller plate on the bottom so the hot metal doesn’t just fall through the hole. It’s important to leave that in place until the weld cools enough that the metal doesn’t instantly rust on the backside from exposure to the air, because I have to flip this over and I don’t want to clean the backside before I weld it.

Here’s the top side weld.


There’s too much crown on the profile but I will live with it.

I only need to grind these on the side that touches the floor… Which is this side.
There it is upside down and you can see that the weld metal stayed shiny and did not rust. This means that the bottom weld will come out without contamination. You can also see that the aluminum chiller does not allow any fusion at the bottom of the hole. This all had to be heated up to the critical temperature and blended out with a dab of filler rod.

Anyhow for the most part the welds came out clean, & I was about 3/4 of the way done welding when I ran out of argon.

I cleaned everything up and took my wife out for dinner and a fresh tank of argon.
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While I’m thinking about this, I have to mention something.

I really enjoy the TIG welding & the better I get at it the more I enjoy it. In spite of that fact, I put this welding off for a long time just to get some paint on the brakes & chassis.

I forced myself to do all that hated sanding and scrubbing and scraping and brushing before I did the actual fun part, which is making runny steel with electric plasma.

I would’ve held out even longer, and done that inside patch on the tunnel, but I just couldn’t put off the fun part any longer. And I did not want to think about that today. Filling up holes in an angle iron is pretty much brainless once you learn to do it.
It took along time to sand that frame, plus I did some touchup welding and grinding. Those long pieces of steel angle still had pickling and rust, and have never been painted except at the ends.

Fortunately this car was not stored outdoors, but there was an amazing amount of rust and dirt on those angles.

It is almost good enough to paint now, but I need to buy more paint first. Today will be the perfect temp to spray, but I forgot I used most of my paint on those garden ornaments and the bench.

By the time I realized that, yesterday, it was past dinner time and I just put it all away.
I bought some new paint for the frame today. Then I went over the frame one more time and finished my sanding.

I gave it all a good acid wash, And I rinsed it off three times and wiped it down. This time I diluted the acid wash quite a bit, where before I had used it right out of the bottle. That’s not necessary at all and it just makes for extra washing later.

This time I used about 1 part to 5 parts of water.

I decided that the Smart Seal degreased it well enough without additional acetone washing, and after it was dry I wiped it down and I shot it black.


You can see I didn’t sand the hot-rolled steel dead flat. I burnished off the scale, but it still has roller marks.

Nobody’s ever going to see this unless they put it up on the lift. This car is too low to crawl under. ;)
I initially had a very difficult time getting all the bumpers and fenders to line up right on this car, so that it looked straight. When I got it, everything was misaligned, and head-on from a distance the whole car looked crooked.

Well the truth is that the frame was and still is crooked. I am just now approaching the real work to correct the frame.

I spent a lot of time cleaning up my work area yesterday, after all the sanding and grinding. Then I decided to do some more sanding, and pulled out the front and rear bumper brackets. They had some blobs of weld remaining from the original turn signal brackets which I had cut loose.

I was getting ready to grind those blobs off, and half convinced to just drop them off at the powder coaters & have them blasted & painted. Then I noticed this:

The front brackets do not match.

Someone stuck one (or both) in the brake at the wrong angle. They don’t match in this direction either of course. This little straight edge really shows you the difference.

That was causing the bumper to push out and tip down just slightly on the driver side.

This guy really missed the mark when he stuck this in the press. I’m afraid the difference was too much to just heat these up and hammer them without a forge handy.

I cut the top one in that photo, from both sides, along the bend. I left the tab in the appropriate place, and bent the leg into position with a crescent wrench.

I want them to come out the same so I set them both up in the vice with a steel pipe to represent the bumper. You can see there’s a fair gap to repair. I will have to fill from both directions and then grind everything to the proper profile.

By the time that was set up straight, it was dinner time, and I decided to let the welding wait until today.
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It is difficult to tell from those photographs how out of line this was. It was kind of a pain to weld and this is really at the limit of what I can do comfortably with an air cooled torch.

I cut one flange towards the middle, and then I made the second cut in the other flange. This gave me quite an overlap on one bead and quite a gap on the other. You can tell in this photo where the big gap was.

This top bead was done from both ends towards the middle. It got really cold when I went over the tab.

It needed more buildup, and you will see that later.

This is the inside corner, and I had the same situation, reversed.


One end had a fat gap and the other had a big overlap; so I started at the overlap. Then I flipped it and went in from the other end, just as I had done on the top. Only this time I laid a triple pass on the big gap. (No photo ;( )

I cleaned up the inside & outside radius on my angle grinder and belt sander, and that’s when I found that I really didn’t have enough buildup on the outside corner.

I will lay some more metal on there tomorrow, and regrind it inside and outside until I get the proper appearance.
Well nothing at all has been done on the car recently. We had serious service problems in Clovis with our water, and I nearly poisoned my tropical fish before I figured out what they have done to us.

I spent some money and time setting up a new water filteration and treatment system for my 240 gallon cascade system.

I built the little wooden frame for it, and the insulated cover. My lovely wife gave it a couple coats of paint to match the trim on our house.




In freezing weather it will get a protective cover. 1.5” thick styrofoam.

These outdoor tanks and drums connect to my main aquarium indoors, to serve as filtration and breeding room.


The main 125g aquarium is where I keep the monsters.

It is 2 AM in the morning and I could not sleep. I’m going to get some more, but in about eight hours I’m going to go fire up the welder and begin working on the car again.

I have some touchupup welding to do on the front bumper brackets, and then they both need to be stripped and painted along with the rear brackets.

Those need some welding on them too, as the ends of the tubing were never capped, and they look ugly from the from the top or bottom.

(I hope they match! I never bothered to check yet.)
I spent a lot of time working on my bumper brackets today. I welded up some unnecessary holes that were in them, and did a whole lot of hand filing to square up the one that was modified.


I spent hours cleaning up the inside radius with a grinder and files.

I also did some welding on a wheel for my neighbors gate. That only took a little while, and I was happy to help him straighten the screwy thing out.

Tomorrow I’m going to try stripping those brackets with Easy Off. This is not factory baked enamel, and I think it will pretty much fall off the steel.
Thank you Kevin, I’m afraid it’s looking a bit dusty right now because I uncovered it to do some work and never covered it back. I won’t wash it yet, while the paint is curing. Something like this I let it go for a whole month before I even touch it.

I did a few little things, like clean up the rear shock absorbers and put them back on, and reattach the parking brake cables and brake hose retainers.

I’m still trying to get the bumper brackets straight. I’m going to need a little work on the anvil with a large hammer before I’m satisfied that they’re close enough.

I ordered some steel for the perimeter frame today. I’m having it bent at a small local steel shop, and they were surprisingly affordable. (If you don’t care too much about the price.) Anyhow, $256 and about a week to get them through the shop.

I wanted to pay half that much, but I expected to pay twice as much, So I am still a happy camper.
I got after my bumper brackets today, and I stripped them down with caustic soda (aka generic spray on BBQ cleaner.)

This was my first attempt, and as I normally would buy Zip Strip, or Jasco stripper ($$ !) I didn’t know how well this would work.

It eventually worked pretty well but I only got the parts as hot as scalding water before I sprayed them. If I had heated them up in the oven first it would’ve worked faster.

It ended up taking three applications, and some ScotchBrite scrubbing with hot water. That easily took off 99% of the paint, and I will happily burnish off the rest.

But it is now too cold and dark to paint so that is a task for tomorrow. Also I still have to weld the caps on my rear bumper brackets, But that’s a thing that can be easily done with the car completely assembled by removing a few bumper bolts.

I need to get on with the other welding repairs so that I will be ready when the steel I ordered is available.
These didn’t come out perfect, but I must be getting a little better at this. I managed not to burn up any of the steel, and it’s not very thick.




There are some tiny imperfections that will be covered by paint, making this the most perfect part of the whole biz.

I need to finish stripping those and these front brackets still need a little more attention first, so I can paint everything at once.

It seems like I’ve been working on these things for a week, (edit: Actually I started 17 days ago…) and they’re not perfect, but once again, good enough.

These look ready to paint but there was still another two hours of filing, wire brushing, acid etching, solvent washing and blow drying.

Then after all that, right away I put a run in the paint. After paint, I hung them on the chassis to dry overnight.

But I will bring these into the garage before it gets cold (and possibly damp) even though they will be dry to the touch by then.

I was tired of all this scraping and painting. Finally I can get back to my other welding. There’s gonna be lots more scraping and painting anyway. The entire front axle beam, suspension, and brakes must be burnished and painted, after the chassis is done.
I spent a lot of time today cleaning up the boat yard, and moving around the VW chassis for better welding access.

Then I made another big mess, carving pumpkins, and I cleaned that up.

Pro tip: Steal one of your wife’s egg beaters and chuck it in the battery powered drill motor. This scraped the inside of the pumpkin shells in record time.

Make sure you wash it before she figures it out.
I finally got back to welding on the chassis today. I fixed several holes and cracks, and about 2 feet of sloppy MIG welding. I was able to keep the existing patch by grinding most of the old welds away first.

A few spots will need to be ground out again, as there was some crap in the lap.

Well I fixed my broken grinder today. I sharpened up all of my tungsten electrodes, and went back to welding up 50 holes in the floor pan

I welded tonight until I ran out of argon gas, and I will be off to the welding store first thing tomorrow morning.
All of the floor pan welding is finished on the top but I have to touch it up on the bottom. I only rolled it over halfway because I’m going to work inside the tunnel first.


I have to admit that I find this thing a little scary, hanging all the weight off of one bolt, with plenty of prying action. It’s not that it is that much weight. I can actually lift the whole back of this chassis myself even with the stand bolted on it. But that prying action is a killer!

I was careful not to make things so rigid, so that it would want to snap, but this pivot does not constitute a safe work platform. I put some more legs and blocks under it, added a temporary post, and strung it up from the overhead too.

This is my first good look at the bottom of my welding. Most of it is going to get some touch up.

TIG welding over all the old questionable MIG work. I marked the obvious pits, but there was some hidden porosity too.

TIG smoothes it all out and makes better fusion.

I circled where the welder missed the joint completely. How does one walk away from that gap?



All that ugly stuff got welded up, and is much stronger now

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